Mad Max: Fury Road

Up next is Mad Max: Fury Road, the first film in the series in 30 years, featuring the debut of our friend, Jenya. Directed by George Miller and starring Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, and Nicholas Hoult, the film is rated R for intense sequences of violence throughout, and for disturbing images.

Mad Max, set in a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken,, follows two rebels who attempt to restore order. One is Max (Hardy), a man of action and of few words, and the other is Furiosa (Theron), a woman of action looking to return to her homeland.

10 out of 10

Do you want to touch the face of god?

I walked away from this movie thinking the proclamation Nicholas Hoult’s psychotic Nux makes: “What a day! What a lovely day!” is a rather fitting summarization.

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This film oozes setting and style like a t-shirt struggling to contain a fat person. We see numerous distinct factions, two-headed lizards, steering wheel worship,the resurgence of Valhalla worship along with the use of awesome exploding spears(clever details showing a return to more medieval mindsets), and a guy in a red onesie playing a flamethrower guitar on a goddam moving truck. Yes I just said that. A guy in a red onesie plays a guitar that breathes fire while riding on a truck. It seems like an insignificant(albeit freaking amazing) point to focus on, but the creativity found in such a small background character shows how the filmmakers really want you to see this world as more than a generic wasteland but as a living, breathing, world that has gone to hell, setting up a universe that is begging to be explored, a unique characteristic that has been lacking in many films.

Tom Hardy’s Mad Max is the gruff badass we all want to be, his often quiet demeanor helping to show the solitary and damaged soul that hides within. Charlese Theron’s Furiosa is fantastic as she plays a badass chick who does not give a damn and kicks as much ass as she pulls at your heart strings, the audience discovering her journey is as much about redemption as it is freedom. The real dark horse pulling out ahead of everyone at top speed is Nux. How do you feel sympathy for a henchman, especially a suicidal and insane one? Hoult pulls it off by giving us a good look someone who chooses to give into the insanity since he has nothing else, his character being quite sympathetic as well as entertaining. What truly helps the acting shine is the decision to limit dialogue at times to allow the facial and physical actions for the characters to narrate their current feeling and growth, the choice to have people shut up being far more powerful than having them tell the audience the depth of their sadness in words.

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Now that sounds great, right? Well hold onto your butt and keep it in park because I haven’t even gotten to the villain yet! Imperator Joe is the classic villain that makes a film like this fun. He is diabolical, intimidating, and downright driven(like a car).

Speaking of cars, let me get on to them. The cars in this movie are understandably THE MOST GORGEOUS THINGS IN THE PLANET. The Big Rig the heroes drive around is like a souped-up ghetto Optimus Prime and is amazing. We see a huge variety of vehicles that are exciting to see since you never know what will come next. Who knows it could even be a cadillac WITH TANK TREADS. It is worth seeing this movie just to see the lengths its inhabitants go to make their rides as dope as possible for the hell hole that is their home, these making the exhilarating action scenes even more outrageously awesome that they already are.

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This film could be said to be nothing more than an extended chase which is a fair assessment to make. But if you hold it against the film, you fail to see the underlying genius behind it. Making a film nothing more than a chase scene and squeezing in the amazing setting, characters, and action is a gift in of itself and the real tension the movie fills you with makes it standout and truly be a masterpiece that every man, woman, and accompanied child should see.

Who knew that I needed the maker of Babe in the City and Happy Feet to remind me what good action is?

9 out of 10

If there’s one thing I love in cinema, it’s a pleasant surprise. A summer cinematic pleasant surprise? Even better. Mad Max: Fury Road just happens to be one of those stealth-bullseyes that has absolutely (and deservedly) dominated these past few weeks.

When I first heard the idea, I was pretty skeptical; of all the films to recreate during the Remake-Renaissance, the film about a bunch of clunky, sometimes cheesily-designed thundering through the desert seemed like an unlikely pick. Yet Fury Road has proven to me just I’m always in for a rock solid remake: it weaves in a little complexity in what could have been one dimensional story, it injects an old world with new colors and fascinating characters and, above all else, it resuscitates a pretty stagnant franchise. Remakes are always best when they reignite interest.

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First, let’s address the sheer insanity of this movie because it’s beautifully hyperactive from beginning to end. There’s no denying, the movie is chaotic and kinetic, pretty much unstoppable. If I may use car wordplay (forgive me here), it goes from 160 to infinity in two hours. The best part though, the thing that keeps the film fun, is that the viewer doesn’t get lost in the shuffle; I’ve maintained the simple fact that, for a movie to be truly fun, the audience has to be able to actually keep track of what’s going on as plenty of directors who toy with obscene amounts of CGI and indecipherable shaky-cam don’t seem to grasp. With all the hot rods and oddball characters running around here, keeping up with things certainly isn’t hard to do. You also – gasp – actually care about what’s going on here. (You’re laughing and saying “but it’s an action movie” but believe me when I say it’s all the difference). The movie’s relentless nature has led it to be viewed as a two hour chase by some and, yeah, it kind of is but that’s an occupational hazard of a Mad Max movie.

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This is all bolstered by the fact that the film has its own taste and unforgettable flare. I can only imagine how much time was poured into all these vehicle designs and pieces of clothing but the effort is tangible. The filmmakers pretty much galvanized a world fading into forgetability which is darned admirable. The actors working with the materials are giving it their all as well (Tom Hardy never fails to impress).

There’s also one driving (a-ha) idea behind the movie and that’s survival. Critics have lauded this for its surprising complexity and, yeah, I was nicely surprised by it. I like how the cars have become symbols of power in a barbaric world and I love how those who made the movie morphed it from being a standard action flick to being a full-on epic about what happens when humans are relegated back to their most aggressive instincts. There are definitely other themes there but my brain is too burnt out from finals to grope around for them (apologies).

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Whether you want to see it as the Odyssey of action movies or you’re just looking for some noise and neat visuals though, one thing’s for sure: you won’t be dissatisfied by the latest volume in the Mad Max saga.


One thought on “Mad Max: Fury Road

  1. Pingback: Thoughts on… 2015 Best Picture Films | Screenwars

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